Comfort Objects for Those in Mourning

When I was in Virginia recently for my father’s funeral prep (and the actual funeral), family, neighbors, and friends of my parents converged on the house with food. There were flowers too, but mostly food. My aunts believe that carbs and chocolate provide comfort for those in mourning.

Since returning to St. Louis, it’s been touching for me to receive a few gifts and gestures from people trying to help with my grieving process. I’m lucky that I have comfort around me all the time in Megan and the cats, but on some subconscious level the other forms of comfort are helping as well.

I thought I’d briefly mention these gifts today to give you some ideas if in the future someone you care about is mourning and you want to offer some comfort. And I should note up front (as I mentioned on a previous post) that something as small as a short comment on social media can truly provide a big boost. I’m very grateful for the gifts, but I wouldn’t want hundreds of gifts, but the hundreds of comments mean a lot to me.

  • flowers: Here’s the thing about flowers: They add color and life to a home (and good smells). That really helps during a time of mourning.
  • chocolate: I can’t deny my aunts’ theory–chocolate is inherently comforting to me.
  • Spoonful of Comfort: There’s a company that specializes in delivering comfort foods with minimal prep time directly to any address. This also made me think of a Christmas gift I received that was shipped from a bakery in LA–it’s called Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.
  • card: Receiving a card from someone–especially if they knew the person who passed away and can share a memory–is really nice.
  • make a meal: A few friends have offered to bring me a homemade meal, and it’s just such a kind gesture. Even though I’m still cooking for myself, it’s nice to know that someone prepared a meal–or even just a dish–out of love and caring.
  • donation: A few people asked if they could make a donation in honor of my dad, and I’ve echoed what we decided on for the obituary: Because of the sheer quantity of donated blood my dad used during chemo, we asked people to donate blood (or support the blood donation system in a way that is right for them, as not everyone can give blood). This is really meaningful to me.

Also, while this isn’t applicable to what’s going on with me, if someone loses a life partner, something I learned from my mom in this time of loneliness for her is that she really values people who schedule time with her in a week or two (instead of right away). The week of the funeral is very busy, and then there’s a lot of quiet time and space that the person may or may not want to fill.

Overall, if you’re compelled to offer comfort to someone in the future, please do so in the way that feels right to you. If you’re uncertain, I’d recommend that you tell the person what you want to do and simply ask them when is best for them.

If you have any thoughts, tips, or suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Thank you!

5 thoughts on “Comfort Objects for Those in Mourning”

  1. Thank you for sharing your grieving journey! I recently had a friend lose her brother. I wanted to help, but I didn’t want that help to be a stress. One of my children was born with a heart defect and during some tough days of surgery, I truly appreciated the offers of help, but I was at a loss for what to ask and felt like I was letting people down. If someone I care about loses someone, I want to quietly be supportive. I ended up sending flowers and a big sack of peanut free snacks (due to a family allergy). Covid made it harder to know the right thing to offer. I think it ended up being a good choice and this post confirms it 😊 Also knowing to check in later, is helpful. The grieving doesn’t end when the funeral is done. Best to you and your family during this time!

  2. Reading your posts has made my remember, in a good way, my father which I lost a long time ago. Thanks for written them!

    My father introduced me to board gaming and for a birthday my wife gift me Brass Birmingham with a note saying “I think your father would have love to play it with you” It was such a cool note and when I play it it brings a smile to my face.

    I also love when people share stories about my father! Knowing things about him is always a gift I appreciate. Talking about him has always felt him feel close and I found that comforting.

    I hope his memory gives peace to you and your family.

    • Thanks for this, Carlos, and I’m sorry that you’ve lost your father too. That’s a really sweet note (and gift) from your wife.


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